International Women's Day March organizers, including GSWS masters students and alumni

Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (GSWS) master of arts (MA) program offers interdisciplinary study and research leading to a master's degree. The program provides a strong academic approach, with core courses on feminist theory and methodology and a blend of advanced studies in specific fields, as well as directed readings for more individualized study. Students develop and demonstrate intellectual and analytical skills, in accordance with the particular criteria of the level of study, and in consultation with their supervisor and supervisory committee.

We offer two options to complete a MA in GSWS, thesis and course intenstive

The department is not accepting applications for the GSWS Thesis for the Fall 2024 intake.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. The Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (GSWS) minimum requirement for admission to the MA is a BA (BSc) with a minimum CGPA of 3.5 for the thesis option, and a minimum CGPA of 3.0 for the course intensive option, from a recognized university. MA student will be admitted into a specific option (thesis or course intensive) and so should apply to the preferred option. A student can change from one option to another only with the approval of the graduate program committee. A student can transfer to the thesis option only if there is a suitable supervisor available. 

Students will be accepted into the MA thesis option only if a suitable supervisor is willing to supervise them. Supervisors will be selected from joint GSWS appointees and continuing faculty on the coordinating committee of the department including associate members.

A student with incomplete academic preparation for the MA program may be required to complete up to 12 units of undergraduate course work in either the GSWS or another relevant program prior to commencing their MA.

Program Requirements

Course Intensive Option 

This program option consists of courses and a field examination for a minimum of 36 units.

Students must complete:

and one of

and an additional 14 units of graduate courses*

and a field examination

*Two of these courses may be from gender, sexuality, and women's studies courses at the universities under the Western Deans’ Agreement or relevant offerings in other Simon Fraser University departments, with the approval of the student's supervisory committee.

***The department is not accepting applications for the GSWS Thesis for the Fall 2024 intake.***

Thesis Option

This program option consists of course work and a thesis for a minimum of 38 units.

Students must complete

and an additional 4 units of graduate courses*

and a thesis

Application Procedure

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has recently implemented an online application procedure.

Apply using the online application system. Note that there is an application fee.

MA Application Package

  1. Letters of reference from three people who are familiar with you and qualifies to evaluate your capacity for graduate academic work. Note that we do not provide reference forms, so the letters of reference must include complete contact information for the referees.
  2. Applicants are required to upload digital transcripts (e.g. scanned copy, photocopy etc) showing course titles and grading scales as part of the online application. Please note that all transcripts uploaded by applicants are considered unofficial. Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission is made and they should be sent directly to Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellows. Official transcripts showing degree completion are required prior to enrolling at SFU. We recommend submitting your transcripts approximately 2 months prior to your first term (If you previously attended SFU, you do not need to submit official SFU transcripts.) For more details about the requirements for official transcripts via mail or email, please see: 
  3. 750 to 1200 word statement of your proposed area of study. For the course-intensive option, this should include some of the courses in which you are most interested; this should include a proposed topic, and a description of the approach you wish to take, including main academic fields of study.
  4. short curriculum vita showing relevant course work, employment and volunteer work.
  5. sample of your scholarly work, such as an upper-level (third or fourth year) essay, an essay prepared especially for this application, a substantive portion of your honours thesis (if applicable) or samples of any academic publications. Minimum 500 words, maximum 1500 words.
  6. If your first language is not English then an original TOEFL certificate or IELTS is required. International applicants will not be required to complete an English-language test if they have completed a degree at an institution where the language of instruction and examination was in English in a country where English is the primary language. Please see:

For the list of SFU Graduate Awards and Entrance Scholarships, please see

Please Note

Unless you are a Canadian Citizen or Landed Immigrant, your work opportunities as a graduate student will be limited to employment on campus. We cannot, and will not in the future be able to, provide support for all our students.

The Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Graduate Program Admissions Committee meets shortly after the application deadline and looks at all applications at the same time.

Important Notice

Application deadline:
January 24, 2024
(Fall 2024 start)

Applications Open:
Thursday, November 2, 2023


For information on how to submit transcripts, please visit the Dean of Graduate Studies website
click here

Please submit supporting documents as per online application instructions.

***The department is not accepting applications for the GSWS Thesis for the Fall 2024 intake.***


Chair of the GSWS Graduate Program Committee: Dr. Jen Marchbank -
Department contact: Department Secretary -